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A man's snooze in a motel room he didn't pay for helped Fredericksburg police make multiple arrests in two recent robberies and an attempted robbery in the city, police said.
According to police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe, officers went to the Thomas Jefferson Motel at 1901 Augustine Ave. early Friday in response to a tip about a man who had broken into one of the rooms. Officers found damage to a window and the man sleeping in the room.
Matthew Coleman, 25, who has no fixed address, was charged at the time with unlawful entry and was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.
In the room, police found two toy guns that had been altered to look like real guns, Bledsoe said. They talked to Coleman and got evidence linking him to an attempted robbery and assault last week on the city's Rappahannock Canal path and two robberies of food delivery drivers last month in Forest Village.
He was further charged with two counts of robbery, attempted robbery, two counts of assault, assault by mob and conspiracy. He is being held without bond.
Two other men were also charged in one of the Forest Village robberies.
Terry Santos, 20, of Fredericksburg was arrested Monday at his job in Spotsylvania County. Jeremy Coker, 19, of Mineral was arrested the same day while hanging out in the area of the Central Park Townhomes, formerly known as Bragg Hill.
Both men are charged with robbery, assault by mob and conspiracy. They, too, are being held without bond.
The most recent incident--the canal path attack--took place Nov. 6. A 72-year-old man was walking toward Normandy Village when he was confronted by a man who was walking in the opposite direction.
The man demanded money, then assaulted the victim and threw him to the ground after learning that the victim had nothing of value. The victim suffered injuries to his face, arm and ankle but refused to go to the hospital.
Late Oct. 18, a driver for Hunan Garden on William Street was delivering an order to 1600 Forest Village when he was approached by a man. The driver initially thought it was the man who had ordered the food and handed the food to him, but tried to take it back after it became clear the man wasn't going to pay.
The robber threatened to hit the driver with a beer bottle, so the driver let go of the food. He was not injured. The incident wasn't reported to police until the next day.
On Oct. 21, a driver for the Pizza Hut near the University of Mary Washington was delivering three pizzas and drinks to 600 Forest Village. He had just gotten out of his vehicle when a group of males approached him and one of them tackled him.
Three men began assaulting the driver and going through his pockets. They took money from one pocket, a cellphone and the food, but did not get the victim's wallet, which was in another pocket. The victim suffered minor injuries to the face and the arms.
Anyone with information about other incidents involving the three suspects is asked to call Detective Wayne Hunnicutt at 540/654-5753.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404